Over 80% of all workplace injury arises from worker behavior. We make mistakes, errors in judgment or simply do not have our full attention on the job and something happens. There is also a tendency to get so focused on getting the job done that we do not recognize the obvious.
Take this story for example... A fairly new worker fell into a hole in the floor and required several stitches in his leg. The opening was well flagged off and the incident seemed implausible.
The post incident interview went something like this: So, you saw the caution tape? "Yes". And you do understand what caution tape means? "Oh, yes." And you stepped over the caution tape and fell into the hole? "Yes, that is pretty much what happened."
With further questioning, it turned out the worker was on the end of a tag line at the time. He was so focused on
keeping the plate steady that the consequences of stepping over the caution tape did not register. And, recent research on workplace injury confirms that focused concentration on a task reduces the capacity to recognize obvious hazards. In fact, a significant number of workplace injuries result from this kind of inattention.
This kind of focus applies directly to vehicle operation such as forklifts or even pickup trucks. As workers, we feel a sense of pressure to get tasks done and may be so focused on the task at hand that we may not see a person walking in the path of our vehicle's travel. And, every year there are countless incidents like this.
Are there pressures and intense focus in our jobs? You bet. But it is how we deal with the pressure, how we handle that intense focus that changes the outcome.
Pre-task Planning (STA) is a great tool to incorporate with your team members. Read more below...
PRE-TASK PLANNING BASICS:
The STA is a living document that helps everyone to focus on their tasks for the day. Here are a few things to keep in mind when using this tool:
1) Everyone has input
2) Done in your work area by individual crews
3) Identify your task for the day
4) Identify what hazards you see with those hazards no matter how trivial they may seem
5) Identify other trades working around you and ask the question “Can I safely work around them?”
6) Identify how to abate the hazards you identified by asking yourself “Do I have the right training,
equipment and or material?”
7) If you job task changes, then start over with the STA and ask yourself these simple questions again.
The piece of paper you are writing the information down on will not save your life, but the focus you are
placing on your work will.